Acute myeloid leukemia development occurs in a step-wise fashion whereby an original driver mutation is followed by additional mutations. The first type of mutations tends to be in genes encoding members of the epigenetic/transcription regulatory machinery (i.e. RUNX1, DNMT3A, TET2), while the secondary mutations often involve genes encoding members of signalling pathways that cause uncontrolled growth of such cells such as the growth factor receptors c-KIT of FLT3. Patients usually present with both types of mutations, but it is currently unclear how both mutational events shape the epigenome in developing AML cells. To this end we generated an in vitro model of t(8;21) AML by expressing its driver oncoprotein RUNX1-ETO with or without a mutated (N822K) KIT protein. The expression of N822K-c-KIT strongly increases the self-renewal capacity of RUNX1-ETO expressing cells. Global analysis of gene expression changes and alterations in the epigenome show that N822K-c-KIT expression profoundly influences the open chromatin landscape and transcription factor binding. However, our experiments also show that double mutant cells still differ from their patient derived counterparts, highlighting the importance of studying patient cells to obtain a true picture of how gene regulatory networks have been reprogrammed during tumourigenesis.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.